33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) Mt. 25:14-30 – November 19 2017

“Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share you master’s joy. “

Once I heard a funny story a family told me. They were coming out of Mass. Mr. Complain says to his wife, "That was a poor sermon that priest gave." Mrs. Complain adds, "Yes, and the choir sang out of tune." Walking along with them was their little son who has been listening to his parents' conversation. He also speaks up, "It seemed all right to me," he says, "especially considering that it only cost us a dollar!"

In this case, it does not mean that you get what you pay for. Jesus is not an expert on finances, but he teaches us this Sunday about investing what we receive. He tells the famous parable of the talents: A man going on a journey calls his servants and entrusts his possessions to them. To one, he gives five talents; to another, two; to a third, one; each according to his ability. When the master returns, he finds out that the servant who was given five talents made five more; the one given two talents made two more. They are happy in receiving the master's praise for having used their abilities in a creative way, and he tells to each one of them: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master´s joy.” However, the servant who received one talent had hidden the talent out of fear, and now brings the talent back to the master. The master calls him a wicked, lazy servant, and orders that he be punished.

A talent originally meant money, a precious coin; in all modern languages it has received the metaphorical meaning of a human ability. In this sense we might think that the best talent entrusted to us is our own life, which includes our abilities and charismas, what we learn, our work, our time, our energy and our relationships. In today´s parable Jesus warns us, in this time before his second coming, that we must use the life and gifts entrusted to us in a creative way to build up God's kingdom. And this means the works of love, as we hear Jesus announcing the final judgment (Mt 25: 31-46).

Fear is laziness and it is not acceptable as an excuse for doing nothing. The point of the parable is that the man who received least was driven by fear, and today Jesus asks you and me to do small things with great love. The third man compared himself to others and was afraid to fail. So he did nothing. That was the problem. He buried his talent. The master calls the servant who had buried his talent a wicked servant, not because he had done something evil, but because he had done nothing to have got it back to his master with the interest.

The parable of the talents is a powerful lesson for the end of the year. We should ask ourselves what are we doing with this life that God has given us, and if we are afraid pretending that we are worthless. Some people say, “I am not very ´talented´ and educated and not very witty and people do not find me important. So I stay quietly and passively and hope that no one notices me. Many other people can do better things than I can.” The invitation then is that we can apply the meaning of the parable by thinking of the many ways that the life entrusted to us can be wasted, even without doing evil things.

How many of us would have hidden the precious white garment we were put on the day of our baptism, or would have put under the bed the baptismal lighted candle. It is a time of the year to improve our spiritual self esteem and produce fruit out of the talents we have received, for the glory of God and for the good of his people.

Let us stop complaining. No matter how small or insignificant are, in human eyes, the good deeds we do for God and for others; if we do them according to God´s will, they are great indeed.

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